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Full text of "My country and my people"

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the French neo-classical school that made the appreciation of Shakespeare impossible for a century and a half in Europe, have been abandoned, and in their place we have a fresher, richer and broader literary ideal, which in the end must bring about a closer harmony between literature and life, a greater accuracy of thinking and a greater sincerity of living.
Of course it is more blessed to give than to take. For with this change there has come chaos. Progress is fun, but progress is painful. More than that, progress is always ugly. With the profound intellectual upheaval that is going on in Young China's minds, we have lost a centre of gravity in thought and we have lost a cheerful common sense. The task of adjustment between the old and the new is usually too much for the ordinary man, and modern Chinese thought is characterized by an extreme immaturity of thinking, fickleness of temper and shallowness of ideas. To understand the old is difficult, and to understand the new is not too easy. A little bit of romanticism, a tinge of libertinism^ a lack of critical and mental ballast, extreme impatience with anything old and Chinese, extreme gullibility in accepting the yearly "new models'9 of thought, a perpetual hunt for the latest poet from Jugoslavia or the newest novelist from Bulgaria, great sensitiveness toward foreigners in revealing anything Chinese, which simply means a lack of self-confidence, an eighteenth-century rationalism, fits of melancholia and hyper-enthusiasm, the chase of slogans from year to year like a dog biting its own tail—these characterize the writings of modem China.
We have lost the gift of seeing life steadily and seeing life whole. To-day literature is clouded by politics3 and writers are divided into two camps, one offering Fascism and the other offering Communism as a panacea for all social ills, and there is probably as little real independence of thinking as there ever was in old China. With all the apparent emancipation of ideas, the old psychosis of the Grand Inquisition is still there, under the cloak of modern terms. For, after all, the Chinese love liberty as they love a foreign cocotte, for whom they have 00 real affection. These are the ugly features of the period of transition, and they in time will wear off, when China becomes politically better organized, and its soul has less sensitive spots.